MESA members learn about engineering from Boeing professionals

Through interviewing and interacting with Boeing engineers and professionals, Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) members learned about life as an engineer and at Boeing.

Cal State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) held its 19th annual Boeing Day event in collaboration with The Boeing Company on Oct. 15. CSULA invited all the MESA programs across elementary, middle, and high schools that it sponsors to bring students to the event; San Gabriel MESA sent 42 members.

At the beginning of the event, MESA members gathered in an open field and participated in math and science related activities, ranging from Algebra Battleship to paper plane building. Boeing executives Andy Bicos and Tony Hagen welcomed all the students and encouraged them to talk to the Boeing professionals.

Freshman Chingying Li saw the educational opportunity and interviewed Hagen.

“By interviewing Tony Hagen, I learned about what engineers do and what [an engineer’s typical day] is like,” Li said.

Li learned about the importance of flexibility in engineering and Hagen’s typical day at work. As an executive, Hagen spends less time with hands-on engineering and more time in meetings managing people.

“Although engineering might not be my first choice, I enjoy working in engineering,” Li said. “I am still exploring different careers.”

MESA adviser Nicolas Nguyen highly encouraged his club members to step out of their comfort zones and talk to Boeing professionals.

“It is important for students to interact with engineers and professionals from the industry because they hear from teachers too much and don’t get to hear from the professionals,” Nguyen said. “To get a chance to talk to the professionals, students are able to learn about the professional work that they may get involved in for the future.”

Following the morning activities, CSULA volunteers and Boeing professionals took MESA members on lab tours and workshops relating to various engineering fields. The workshops taught students about personal statement writing and 3D printing, while the lab tours showcased the types of environments that engineering majors have to work in for college.

MESA members will use their newfound knowledge to prepare for their upcoming competition in March.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *